“A freelancer really has two jobs,” says Dave DiVerniero. He is a producer at Black Chip Collective, which is a freelance network that helps pair freelance video professionals with clients from around the country. “The first job is to be absolutely great at what you do. The second job, which is a much more difficult and painful job, is to consistently find work.”
While you can always learn a trick or two about how you can raise your freelancing game and be good at what you do, it takes a much greater effort to consistently find jobs to do. For starters, the absolute solution for finding a consistent stream of jobs is to get more clients.
But how can one get more clients in such a highly competitive freelancing economy? You may wonder.
We have the true answers to that. Read on to discover what they are!
Do a Good Job and Ask for Recommendations?
Did you know that every client you work with has a network of friends and colleagues they could refer you to? If you do a good job every time that someone orders your gig, they’ll be more willing to tell others about you.
To make this work, you should learn to develop a great interpersonal relationship with almost all your clients (even if you have only a few clients for now). Try to get to know your clients better and speak with them about things outside of the project that they’ve contacted you to complete. Suggest new trends and strategies for improving their businesses, and make them fall in love with your services.
At the end of the day, you can directly ask them to recommend you to their friends so that you can also help them with their businesses too.
“Freelancing isn’t only about what you know, but who you know. And when you do good work for others, you’re bound to get recommended by them.”
Network with Other Freelancers
Are you a writer, why not link up with graphic designers? Do you freelance in the web development niche? If so, contact your friends in the mobile app niche and get connected. As strange as this may sound, your freelancing colleagues can be a constant source of client streaming for you. All you need to do is network with them to get connected.
If you have a good relationship with other freelancers in other niches and they trust your skills, they’ll be more than likely to refer their clients to you whenever any of them are in need of the services you offer.
For instance, a new business owner who wants to launch their website would seek out a web developer, content creator, digital marketer, and several other online services.
Now, when your friend or network connection in the web development niche suggests your content writing service to their client, the client would be more than willing to work with you because they trust the recommendation of their developer.
Join Freelancing Websites
There are so many freelancing websites out there today, including Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, Craigslist, PeoplePerHour, and so much more. But, of course, the one you join will be determined by the service you want to offer. The big advantage of these platforms is that you don’t run out of opportunities to find clients.
Take Fiverr, for instance. Once you sign up for an account with them, the platform gives you the opportunity to be contacted by any number of potential clients from all over the world. And that’s not even all. If, after a few days of signing up, you don’t get contacted by anyone or you don’t like the offers being proposed to you by some of these potential clients, then you can visit the “Buyer’s Requests” page to submit proposals and bid for jobs. Each day, you have an opportunity to submit as many as 10 bids, so the opportunity is always there to find clients if your bid prices are compelling enough.
I know what you’re thinking… Networking Events SUCK!
But that’s because people typically go to them looking for clients.
Don’t be that creeper at the networking event. Instead, go to networking events to find CONNECTORS. These are people who may not turn out to be clients themselves, but they can help introduce you to potential clients.
Here’s a good script you can use to connect with a connector:
“Hey, if you know of anyone who’s looking for a video editor, let me know. Here’s my card. You can pass it along to them.”
Of course, you should mold the script to fit your individual situation and learn to follow up with these connectors by checking up on them after the events. Please don’t appear too pushy, desperate, or creepy. They can detect that easily, and it will turn them off.
If you live in a big city, networking events are a dime a dozen. If you don’t live in a big city, that’s okay. There might be a few networking events in your area that happen occasionally.
Be sure to check out event boards to find great opportunities for networking events. Here are some examples of event boards:
Meetup.com - One of the biggest sites for friendly meet-ups and networking events.
Eventbrite.com - This site aggregates many different types of events that are happening near you. It also has a “networking” events filter in its search function.
Facebook.com - Regardless of your industry, there’s a group of like-minded freelancers on Facebook for you to consider. Many times, these groups will notify you of upcoming events that you can hit up in your local area.
Go to Where Your Potential Clients Spend Most of Their Time
This is not to say that you should start stalking potential clients by going to their houses. Instead, it means that you should go online to those platforms or channels, where your target clients might hang out. By researching your audience carefully, you should have a list of these places.
It is what Jane Anne did to help earn $1.2M in just six months. She is a businesswoman and writer for SpeakingPen.
According to Jane Anne:
“I started spending most of my time on those platforms, where my potential clients love to visit LinkedIn groups. I started engaging with them and contributing directly to the content on the page. After a while, I started directly engaging with many of them by sharing valuable content, videos, infographics and answering any questions that I could about ad campaigns since that was the theme of the group. I started my messages to them with the name of the group, so I wouldn’t appear to be a stranger.”
That’s how I got my first client. A young lady I’d been helping for free — answering her questions about how to generate a lead-converting email list — asked me how she could work with me, and when I told her the price — $5,000 for six months — she said, without missing a beat, “I’m in.”
So, what am I driving at with this short story? Well, the point is you can use the exact same strategy by visiting the place where your potential clients love to visit and then get familiar with them.
Are you a graphic designer? Find a Facebook or subreddit group for small business owners who need your services.
Are you a writer for a particular niche industry? Start answering questions on Quora regarding your niche.
Maybe you’re a video editor. If so, find online groups for bloggers looking to expand their content media.
No matter what you choose, you need to make sure you stay engaged and provide high-quality answers to your potential clients. By doing this, you will build your brand and make connections you would never have made otherwise.
Although some people love to think cold pitching is scary, it isn’t. In fact, if anything at all, it is one of the best ways to find high-value clients. These are the types of clients that pay well. All you have to do is research businesses around your locality or even far away from you (you can do that by researching online) and find out how your service can be of help to them.
For instance, if you’re an SEO content writer, you can check out those lowly ranking websites on Google by simply typing in a specific keyword and going to the third or fourth page of the search results. Handpick these websites and find out their email addresses, as well as the names of the account managers. Once you do, create a compelling pitch to convince the account managers on how you can be of help to them. In other words, let them know how you can help them achieve a higher rank. When you do, let them see the reasons why this is a great deal that they have to take and not pass on.
In a similar vein, a graphic designer, virtual assistant, web developer, eCommerce expert, or social media manager can create their cold pitching email and send it to companies or businesses in their industry niche.
Industry-specific Job Boards
Industry-specific job boards are great places to find clients who know exactly what they want and are willing to pay top dollar for it.
These are job boards specific to certain industries that can help you generate great leads. If your hustle is niched down enough, you’ll be able to pick up clients from many different job boards.
Here are a few good industry-specific sites you can check out for your leads:
Media/publishing: MediaBistro.com, JournalismJobs.com
Healthcare/pharmaceuticals: AllPharmacyJobs.com, HealthcareJobSite.com
Non-profit: Idealist.com, Encore.com, CommonGoodCareers.org
Developer/engineer: iCrunchData.com, Engineering.com, Toptal.com, SmashingMagazine.com
Illustrators/designers: 99designs.com, Designs.net
The first phase of freelancing career is difficult, especially when you don't have enough clients. But, I guarantee If you follow the provided tips then it will be very easy to find new clients quickly. The best tips to become your own boss with freelancing is to follow your passion, master your skills and as per mentioned in this article, build a connection and approach more people to get long-term clients.